Best Outdoor Lanterns 2010: Tips & Products


The pic on the left is from Sara's birthday party last weekend. I loaded the middle of the table with glass jars and candles. It made a great glow (windproof too).

Over the years, this post has changed from being all about products to being about products, how-to's and tips. Why? Because outdoor lighting is usually ephemeral and gains in drama when it has a simple, hand-made quality to it. Here, then, for 2010 is my top list of outdoor lighting inspiration. Enjoy!

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>> Lanterns from Palmyra Design - New for this year are these great lanterns that Chris in Toronto tipped me off to last year. Imported from Morocco via Canada, these outdoor lanterns "cut" the light and create amazing patterns. They seem very "now" to me this year.

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>> Outdoor Lighting Inspiration: Use Lots of Jars

Gleaming, clean glass jars are the easiest, most affordable and highest impact way to light up a table outdoors in the summer. This past weekend we also used a bunch of different shapes, the nicest of which is the small, round bellied Weck jars.

Large glass candy jars like those above from Crate and Barrel are also easy and cheap to buy. Place a pillar candle inside on a bed of sand or attractive rocks and you are golden. Here are my other top picks:

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>> Casamidi Lanterns - These are the finest I know of. Designed by a couple of ex-New Yorkers (who fled to the good life), they now come in many sizes and finishes. We particularly like the oversize - 36" - standard Symi lantern (above) as well as the new Punta Maroma Lantern (below).

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Here are some new designs for 2010 as well.

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>> Santa Rosa Candles are recommended and really nice big guys for outdoors and in.

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>> Ikea Rotera lanterns - These are the cheap workhorses that we've used for years. They are great and you will see them used in fancy restaurants, slipping into the decor without notice. We go for the original metal version only.

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>> NotNeutral's Pinhole Lanterns - Spotted this at a number of fairs, these are particularly elegant when lit, are inspired by Mexican and Moroccan lanterns, and come in three sizes and three colors.

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>> Dietz #90 D-Lite "Bright Tin Plate" Cold Blast Lantern - These can be a little tricky to maintain, but they offer the best all weather lighting in the handsomest vintage design. This is the original pre-1943 version and it will run you only $19.

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>> Look!: Two Simple DIY Lighting Ideas - I saw these Dietz lanterns last year in the Grenadines used this way and came up with own design for candles on branches as well.

Great Ideas From The Apartment Therapy Team:

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>> 5 Essentials for Your Outdoor Party Kit from Susie
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>> Outdoor Solar Shoji Lanterns from Gregory
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>> Outdoor Lighting Ideas from Martha Stewart from Lily
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>> Outdoor Lighting Inspiration: White Paper Lanterns from Laure
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>>Simple Green: LED Lights for the Patio from Laure
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>>8 Best Outdoor Lighting Options from Laure
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>> Outdoor Lanterns & Lights from the NYTimes in 2008 by Aaron
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>> How To: Light an Outdoor Party
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>> Solar Powered Lanterns: Perfect for Outdoor Parties from Janel
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>> Roundup: Great Outdoor Lanterns from Rebecca

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Lighting & Fans

Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.

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